Monday 10 February 2014

Tasmania Trip - Day 17

Day 17 - 10/2/2014 - Black River to Lake MacKintosh

It was an early rise this morning because we had a lot of ground to cover due to the closure of Explores Way and having to double back a fair distance.

It was such a beautiful morning, we decided to take a bit of a back road through Table Cape on the way to Wynyard.  The road was along the cliff top and the views of the ocean combined with the fields of poppies were fantastic.  It was well worth the slight detour.

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Table Cape Lighthouse
It would have been even more spectacular in Spring when all of the poppies would have been flowering.  The farm adjacent to the lighthouse has the largest area of tulips under cultivation in the Southern hemisphere.

There were signs up everywhere warning people to stay out of the poppy fields.  While we were in Tasmania there were a couple of news reports of people getting seriously ill and even at least one death of a backpacker due to them trying to make a poppy tea.

For smoko we stopped at Hellyer Gorge and after eating we did the small bush walk to the creek in the gorge.

From there the next stop was Waratah to have a quick drive around the town and a look at the falls.  It is a pretty little town with the creek and water fall but it is such a shame that the tin mining has polluted the water.  Waratah was certainly living up to its reputation as one of Tasmania's coldest and wettest places.  The blue sky from the morning at the coast was well and truly gone and the temperature was dropping.

From Waratah it was through Savage River and the Tarkine forest to Corinna.  Savage River is pretty much just a mining town that is not open to the public, not even the service station for fuel, luckily we had enough on board.  Driving into Savage River you don’t really get an idea of how big the open cut mine is.  It is not until you look at it in Google maps that you realise how big the mine is.

Corinna is a fantastic little place right on the Pieman River.  If we realised that you could camp there we would have definitely spent the night instead of just making it a lunch stop.  It is certainly a place that we would come back too to try some kayaking on the river.

After lunch it was time to track down “The Fatman Barge” operator.  The operator also doubles as the cook in the Tarkine Hotel!  You  have to press a button at the barge to alert the barge operator that you want to cross and he comes down from the Hotel to take you across the river.

Our destination

Before we left home we knew we were going to try and catch the Fatman Barge across the Pieman River so we checked and rechecked the measurement between the front wheels on the Pajero and the wheels on the camper as the wheelbase couldn’t be more than 9m.  We knew we had our measurements right and would just fit on, but when you were looking at the Barge you started to doubt your measurements.  It was a long way to double back if we didn’t fit!  Luckily we just fitted on. It was a tight squeese!
Looks like everyone else was interested to see if we would fit as well!

Once off the barge it was on to winding through the wilderness towards Lake Mackintosh for the night via Reece Dam, a hydro power station.

Lake Mackintosh was a free camp right on the edge of a dam.  To access the boat ramp and camping area you had to drive across the spillway.  Access to the site is closed when there is a lot of rain predicted because the spillway floods and cuts off access.  Luckily the dam level was a fair way down so there was no chance of that happening tonight.

It was fairly popular in the easy to access section, and all of the level spots were already taken.  We found a side track and after walking it first we found an area that we could just squeeze into and it was more picturesque than the popular side.  We thought we were going to have the site to ourselves but 3 french backpackers, (one guy and two girls ;-) ), turned up in a little pink Mitsubishi Mirage.  It was pretty obvious who won the vehicle choice.  They asked if they could camp in a clearing beside us.  It didn’t bother us as long as they didn’t block our access off because we wanted to get away relatively early again in the morning.

Mt Farrell

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Mt Farrell by night

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